The L.A.-based roaster has created face masks made from coffee burlap sacks for purchase and to give to their partners in Honduras.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Tectonic Coffee
At this stage in the pandemic, face masks are fairly accessible in the United States for a low cost or even for free. In Honduras, that is certainly not the case, as many are unable to afford them, foregoing masks completely. This is a particular concern to Tectonic Coffee in Los Angeles, which purchases coffee from producers Marysabel Caballero and Moises Herrera in Marcala, Honduras. “What we found was that for the most part, the Northern Hemisphere coffee-producing countries we were in touch with, managed the 2019/2020 harvest with not a lot of impact from COVID-19,” explains Deaton Pigot, founder of Tectonic. “What they were all seemingly worried about is the 2020/2021 harvest and a second wave of COVID-19.”
After having made previous donations to a school on Marysabel and Moises’ property, the partners at Tectonic saw that students at this same school hadn’t been able to attend all year because of the pandemic. And so, Deaton set out to find a way to send over PPE to them. This is how he came to create face masks—out of burlap coffee sacks. “One of our staff members, Danny Castrellon, excitedly came into work one morning with a few samples of face masks made from the burlap sacks that we would normally discard!” Deaton says. “That was the moment when we thought, what a fantastic idea to take our burlap sacks and reuse them for the face masks.”
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Burlap sacks as a face covering are probably itchy, filled with holes, and probably not the most conventional version of face masks you’ve seen lately. However, Tectonic partnered with Maria Ramos, the mother of a customer of theirs, to make these burlap sacks face mask-friendly; she lines them with a soft, durable cotton, and all elements of the mask are made from recycled materials.
Tectonic Coffee’s goal is to sell 1,000 of these masks with the intention of giving 1,000 more to the school in Marcala, as well as to the adults who work on the farms of the property. Kids will receive more colorful masks in a mix of patterns to make them more fun, while adults will get the burlap design. If more than these are sold, then Tectonic will continue to match each purchase through the end of October. The masks cost $10, and 10% of the cost for each purchase will go toward the shipping materials and labor costs of sending them to Honduras.
“This initiative is important to us so we can make something meaningful out of our recycled burlap sacks,” says Deaton of a material that would have otherwise been thrown out. “We find it important to help the L.A. community, create more hours for my staff, and contribute to those in need in Marcala, Honduras. If this is successful, we hope to expand to other countries and farmers we work with.”